Sir Richard Branson, president of Virgin Atlantic, today warned that the UK government's plans to increase taxes on air passengers are out of control and will hurt passengers, the aviation industry and developing regions such as the Caribbean and Africa.
The Air Passenger Duty (APD) paid by passengers leaving the UK is due to increase by up to 113 percent by November 2010, with the next phased increase due in November this year. It means, for example, that the APD tax on a flight from Heathrow to Dubai will go up from £40 to £60; the tax on a Premium Economy ticket from Gatwick to Barbados will go up from £80 to £150 and the tax on an Upper Class flight from Heathrow to Sydney will increase from £80 to £170.
Virgin Atlantic today announced that all of its e-tickets issued from today onwards will carry messages criticizing the unjust tax increase by the UK Government, and has launched a new information website, www.virginatlantic.com/unjusttax.
"Air Passenger Duty is one of the most unjust taxes out there. The UK Government has been quietly increasing APD by huge amounts and claiming it is an environmental tax. Yet, there's not a shred of evidence to suggest the £2billion+ currently raised is going towards environmental or sustainable projects.
"Now the UK Government wants to again hike the ridiculously high tax on your holiday or business trip—in November this year and next— by up to 113 percent. I am urging passengers to write to their local Member of Parliament on why the planned increases are out of control.
"The increases will hurt passengers, the airline industry and developing regions such as the Caribbean and Africa which rely on the airline industry to power their economies, and enable family and friends based in the UK to visit loved ones."
Virgin Atlantic supports proposals for a global carbon emissions trading scheme involving all airlines, being proposed at this December's Copenhagen Summit. The proceeds from the scheme will go towards finding clean energy solutions.